Saturday, September 19, 2009

May You be Inscribed and Sealed For a Good Year

A Mourning Dove gazes at me through my bedroom window, and all that I can think of is that this gentle creature, this graceful winged-angel, this sentient being, is somehow staring right down into the very core of my soul. And that everything on the outside, the clothes that I wear, the countenance on my face, the facade with which I portray, is absolutely and utterly transparent. With nowhere to hide, I delve inward. I search down into farthermost crevasses of my being. I question my reasons for doing the things that I do. I cross-examine the most confusing parts of my own psyche. I allow no mercy.
For Jewish people around the world, today is known as Rosh Hashanah or the Jewish New Year. The Hebrew calendar begins with this month which is also known as Tishrei.(If you lived in Israel, Tishrei would be the name of this month.) It is also believed to be the month during which God created the world, hence another way to view Rosh Hashanah is as the birthday of the world. For Jews, today marks the beginning of the most important time of the year, known as The Days of Awe. This ten day period closes with Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement. It is said that on Rosh Hashanah, God performs a sort of life review and inscribes individual names into the Book of Life for another year. At the conclusion of this ten day period, on Yom Kippur, God then seals the Book. Whereas Rosh Hashanah is a day of celebration, Yom Kippur is a very solum day filled with introspective study and humble prayers for forgiveness. For most Jews, albeit religious or more secular, this time of year is a time of serious contemplation and self-evaluation. It is a time to review the way that one has conducted their life throughout the previous year, and to repair any damages that might have been purposely or inadvertently done.

Because of my health problems, I was unable to make it to synagogue with the rest of my family today. I spent a good part of the day in quiet contemplation, resting, reading and appreciating my surroundings. About a month ago, Mark and I attended a street fair in San Clemente. As we walked past the booth housing these paintings, we were both drawn in by something ethereal about them. From the outside of the booth, these works of art just looked like interesting portrayals of trees and angels, but as we got closer to the images, we noticed the Hebrew words which were placed quite subtly in the backgrounds of some of them.
And when the artist, Danny Hughes, came over to talk with us, we realized that there was indeed something very special about these beautiful works. Danny studies a branch of Judaism known as Kabbalah which emphasizes the more mystical side of Judaism. Kabbalah delves more deeply into the relationship between God and man, and how that relationship creates a very deep connection. The piece that both Mark and I chose for our home is called "Believe". It is a mixed media piece which actually incorporates old bible pages from the late 1800's into its theme. Danny was given permission by a rabbi to use these pages in his works because the bibles that they were contained in were falling apart and no longer salvageable. Oftentimes, old bibles are burned because they cannot be thrown away or destroyed.
Today, I spent some time alone with this work of art. I traced the words with my fingers. I photographed it from different angles. I strained my eyes to read some of the words buried beneath layers of paint and surfboard shellac(Yes, Danny uses surfboard shellac), and I thought about the words that Danny inscribed on the back of this piece. "Know that whatever you can see...Can be. DO NOT STOP REACHING FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN. Fear is not an option."

As I considered my own life throughout the course of the past year, I knew that I wasn't alone. I thought about my own actions and reactions. My challenges, my hopes and my hesitations. My mistakes and my triumphs. The things I hope to forgive and the things that I hope to be forgiven for. I asked to be judged wholly, fairly and without fear. But unlike the way in which I often harshly judge myself, I know that God will judge me with more than just a modicum of mercy. Because like the Morning Dove, God can view me with a much gentler eye. For He knows, by looking into the depths of my soul, that I am not out to do harm, but only good.


Meili said...

What beautiful thoughts, Deb. Although we aren't of the same faith, I truly appreciate your beliefs and the candor in which you share them. Wishing you a blessed Rosh Hashanah!

Debra W said...

Thank you, Meili. To me, God is God is God and He is in all of the details. We are so much more alike than we are different.


miruspeg said...

You express yourself beautifully Debbie....your words touched MY soul. The way you described the mourning dove's gaze was very poetic.
I have the same philosophy as Danny that we must never stop reaching out for what we believe in....and overcome our fear.
Wonderful insightful post.
Keep smiling....keep shining.
Peggy xxxx

Debra W said...

Peggy-You always inspire me to think deeper. Thank you for your kind words.

Fear only gets in the way, doesn't it?


Ness said...

Sister-Friend your words aspire me to make it one more day. I am so glad you are Jewish and I am Catholic and we are sisters in the Faith that there is a God and He gets us through our chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia pain ridden days and I would go through it triply because God worked through the pain, led me to blogs, led me TO blog and you and I crossed paths. My greatest gift is the sea glass that is never out of my reach. My dream is that we walk your beach together someday. Until then, we will walk blog in blog. You are simply precious to me. Have a great week. The cardiologist cleared Roger for surgery today(gulp) and we see the surgeon on Wednesday. Your painting quote on the back is spot on.

Sunshine said...

Hi Deb..

Its been a while i havent visit your blog... quite busy with all the things going on.. How's everything doing? Love your thoughts as usual you go in so much detail sometimes i feel like i am gonna crying while reading it. so many emotions attached to your thoughts .. Thanks for sharing with us.

God Bless

rivergardenstudio said...

I love how this morning dove speaks to you... I find so much beauty is birds and feel... (or imagine) their messages... i will reach for what I believe in... Roxanne

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